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NATIONAL BRIEFS


NATIONWIDE: Closing tax loophole for inmates

A new agreement aims to stop federal prisoners from filing for and collecting millions of dollars in bogus tax refunds from their cells. Pressure from U.S. senators in New York, Ohio, Minnesota and Florida last month led to an agreement signed Wednesday between the Internal Revenue Service and the federal Bureau of Prisons to break down bureaucratic and regulatory barriers to end the practice. The memorandum of understanding struck between the two agencies overcomes legal obstacles that had hindered their own efforts and paves the way for states to make similar agreements that apply to their prisons. "The impasse needed to end, and today it's over," Sen. Charles Schumer of New York said. "This agreement means that prisoners will no longer be able to bilk taxpayers out of millions of dollars." The senators pushed the agencies to cooperate after a federal audit showed the practice continued, despite a 2008 law aimed at stopping it. The Bureau of Prisons and the IRS had already been cracking down on the scheme and made several arrests and recoveries of refunds.


CALIFORNIA: Principal shot to death

An elementary school janitor was arrested Wednesday in the killing of a principal in an office at Louisiana Schnell Elementary School in Placerville, about 50 miles east of Sacramento. Sam LaCara, 50, died in the attack, Police Chief George Nielson said. Janitor John Luebbers, 44, was arrested at his home an hour after a manhunt was begun. Investigators were trying to determine a motive for the shooting.


OHIO: Snowmobiler rescued from Lake Erie

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued a snowmobiler who floated into Lake Erie from Canada after falling into the water and climbing onto a loose piece of ice about the size of a football field. Jim Turton of Colchester, Ontario, floated for nine hours before being rescued about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, his 45th birthday, by the crew of an ice-breaking tug temporarily assigned to the Great Lakes from New London, Conn. Turton was one of four snowmobilers who fell through ice near Colchester on Tuesday night. The others climbed onto ice connected to shore. Turton was transferred to a Canadian coast guard ship.

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